Sunday, February 5, 2017

Manchester by the Sea

Movie Name: Manchester by the Sea
Year of Release: 2016
Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Stars: Casey Affleck, Lucas Hedges, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler, C.J. Wilson, Gretchen Moll, Matthew Broderick, Tate Donovan, Kara Hayward, Josh Hamilton, Anna Baryshnikov, Heather Burns, Tate Donovan, Tom Kemp
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7
View Trailer Here

Renowned playwright and director Kenneth Lonergan is back, after his last feature "Margaret" suffered all sorts of mishaps to get released (the film was originally set to be released in 2007 and only got the theatrical release in 2011). "Manchester by the Sea" follows the story of Lee Chandler, a custodian in Boston, who is forced to go back to his hometown of Manchester, following the sudden death of his older brother Joe. Lee has reticence in coming back, due to some very traumatic events from his past, but does so due to his close relationship with his brother. He comes to realize that his brother left him as a legal guardian to his nephew Patrick and that will force him to move back to the area. As Lee settles in, the ghosts of past events come back, as does his ex wife, now re-married and expecting a child.
"Manchester by the Sea" is a film that focuses its story on a character who can't overcome the decisions that were made in the past. The central character, Lee, keeps his distance from everyone, avoids all contact, since he is unable to overcome the events that dramatically altered his life. It's a film that is anchored on that despair, but that balances it out with the introduction of young Patrick, who is filled with life and options. It's an interesting duality for a film that is all about character development, and how these characters wrestle with grief and with the aftermath of their decisions. Formally the film isn't very innovative - it's a subdued film, featuring three great performances, from Casey Affleck, Lucas Hedges and Michelle Williams. The three of them make this a compelling viewing experience. Worth watching.